Putting Our Chairs Through Their Paces

We talk a lot to our customers about how all our most popular chairs pass the British / European strength test at the highest level, level 4. Quite rightly – we’re proud of it. But what does this actually mean?

The strength standard BS EN 12727:2000 includes sixteen different tests at four different levels, all designed to recreate what happens to a chair out in the real world. Some imitate one-off events – a kick to the rear, a bulging schoolbag dropped on the arm, an excitable music fan jumping on the seat. Others are designed to recreate the more mundane wear and tear caused by repeated actions – sitting down, leaning back, allowing the seat to tip up.

What’s important to note is that the tests ramp up considerably through the four levels. As the level increases so does the strain on the chair – greater forces are applied and more cycles are carried out.

  • Level 1 is recommended as a minimum for decorous environments such as churches and courts. At this level, some tests are omitted completely.
  • Level 2 is suitable for some theatres
  • Level 4, recommended for testing arenas like schools and arenas, is the right test for most venues we work with.  This is the test our leading multipurpose chairs – Espace, Recital, Accolade, Zenith,  are designed to pass. Our Scholar lecture theatre chairs also comply.

Our level 4 compliant chairs include Espace, Accolade, Recital, Zenith and Scholar.

Level four is tough. A hydraulic arm tips the seat up and down 100,000 times (compared to 25,000 times at level one). 95kg is applied to the seat pan 200,000 times by an interesting looking device that imitates the human shape (50,000 times at level one). 100kg collides with the arm ten times (40kg at level one). The top of the backrest is “kicked” with a 33kg force 100,000 times – a test which is completely left out for level one. And so on through all sixteen tests.

Some initial testing being carried out at our factory

Our service engineers, who see all kinds of seating on their travels, can attest that failed springs, broken linkages, twisted brackets and broken core boards all cause customers massive headaches - lost capacity, maintenance and of course safety worries. Our customers, on the other hand, know that their chairs have been put through their paces in the toughest possible fashion before we send them out into a very testing world.